One month ago, a social media kerfuffle about the toxic culture at rapidly-growing travel brand Away led to co-founder and CEO Steph Korey stepping aside into a new role she titled Executive Chairwoman. Today, the New York Times reports that Away’s board believes they acted too hastily in accepting Ms. Korey’s role change. They have decided that Ms. Korey will continue to serve as CEO, sharing the role with new Co-CEO Stuart Haselden.
Jen Rubio (left) and Steph Korey (right), co-founders of Away, at the Milken Institute 2019 Global … [+] Conference.
If you somehow missed this story as it unfolded in December, Ms. Korey’s behavior toward employees was manipulative and bullying at best, destabilizing at worst, and illustrative of a profound lack of understanding about how to motivate and inspire. After she fired six employees for complaining on a private communications channel about Away’s company culture and leadership, the proverbial pot boiled over. Word of the ongoing drama was leaked to The Verge, which published an article detailing Ms. Korey’s behavior, and social media took over from there.
Within one day of the article’s publication, Ms. Korey issued a public apology, saying, “I am sincerely sorry for what I said and how I said it. It was wrong, plain and simple. I can imagine how people felt reading those messages from the past, because I was appalled to read them myself.”
At the time, Ms. Korey proposed to the Away board that she leave the role of CEO and become Executive Chairwoman. But the title Executive